The Ardrian Conglomerate Prior to the Cataclysm: The Yavkard Imperium, also known as the Yavkard Empire, the Empire, or just simply the Imperium, was an empire located in the southern region of Ardria. This Imperium was unique in that it was solely made up of predominantly humans, rather than the other sentient races ruling over a human territory. For centuries, the Yavkard Imperium, now the Ardrian Caliphate was a symbol of how individuality and diversity benefited the human race, being the capital of trade and cultural exchange throughout the world. Governed Territories: The Yavkard Imperium, besides ruling over its own people, also governed two territories, who were also predominantly human. The first was the Imperial Heartland, Yavkard. This region is what one actually thinks of when you say "Yavvi," priding itself on its culture, military, and other such things. The other is called Wavria. Wavria itself was culturally and politically independent, but strove to adopt the economic success and prosperity that the Imperium introduced to them. Due to this, Wavria and the Yavvi interacted largely in trade up until the founding of the Merchant’s Guild. The Imperium also controlled a colony which consisted of a part of a set of Eastern Islands called the "Gregorian Isles," which the Conglomerate lost contact with due to instability in the homeland. Economy: Due to its centralized location as well as its access to both inland rivers and the open sea, the Yavvi Imperium was famously known for its dominant trade industries. These industries grew even more with the founding of the Merchant’s Guild, a primary organization of tradesman within the Imperium that allowed for little to no tax of goods for all members. This would allow for imported trade to not be so costly for the Yavvi people, all the while allowing for economic growth via other nations. Culture: The people of the Yavvi Imperium bore close resemblance to those of the Italian Renaissance, for such large intakes of money from trade allowed the availability of luxuries for all abroad. The people itself were divided into social classes as many civilizations do. The uniqueness of the Imperium was its surplus in ways to move up the social chain, due to a person’s rank being decided by wealth. If one was to work on a merchant ship and received decent wages, they could eventually purchase their own ship and license, and depending on what market they chose to enter, could easily become a major marketing player. The eastern province of Wavria is a bit different, resembling an odd fusion of Medieval French and English culture, due to its vast vineyards and farming. Gender roles were another oddity known to the Yavkard Imperium. Prior to the founding of the Merchant’s Guild, women were unable to own property, thereby unable to make profit. This changed however after the the passing of Rodrick Brandbury, the founder of the Guild, who in his will decreed his lover Tessa O’Heldra as his successor. Unfortunately, her reign was cut short to only a year due to the founding of the Triumvirate, but during that time she made many economic reforms, including allowing women the rights to ownership of property as well as becoming voting members within the Guild. These policies were never changed due to the increase in profits women provided. Appearance: Uniquely, the appearance of the people of the Yavkard Imperium is fairly consistent, most having skin tones ranging from a light tan to a light pale, depending on location, going also towards the lightness of blonde hair to dark brown and from pale blue eyes to deep black. Men in the region will usually wear a simple shirt, often a button up which is sometimes frilled, though it may be a tunic if one is poor. One may also opt to wear a light jacket casually, such as a Cardigan or perhaps a set of thin, button-up jackets, similar to what you might wear in a suit. Pants are very commonplace in this region, partially due to climate, partially due to "decency." People will generally wear simple cloth pants. In terms of footwear you might wear a pair of boots or loafers, as sneakers do not exist. It is sometimes seen such as goggles instead of spectacles, though both are accepted socially. Female fashion is often centered around wearing a dress, though some may a sort of binding overtop a simple dress as well. Often times, like men, women may wear pants as well for their profession, though it isn’t very common since it is considered “unladylike” and unfashionable. For footwear, females may opt to wear simple shoes, usually something practical to the profession. For headwear, women don’t normally wear much, but they will sometimes be seen tying their hair back or wearing a headband in the case that their profession or personal preference requires it. Those of the high classes in the Imperium tended to dress more luxuriously during recreational activities. The men primarily wore large elaborate jackets with cloaks, along with hanging sleeves and hose for socks. The women wore intricate large dresses in order or enhance their appearance of figure, both in the bosom and bottom. For parties and gatherings, women also wore jewelry and headpieces. Religion: As a major site of cultural diffusion, the Yavkard Imperium is a home to many different faiths, belonging to both humans and other sentient species. The two most common ones are Je Amla, which originally diffused from the north via Duarssian traders, and Wessernism, which was practiced both by the original Yavvi people as well as the Alhuid merchants from the south. Both of these religions had many major worship buildings dotted throughout the cities of the Imperium. After the Cataclysm: The Yavkard Imperium was the most directly affected by the Cataclysm when it hit in 713 AC, which killed off nearly seventy percent of the Yavvi people. However, the mass killing of people wasn’t only due to the plague, but also the people’s own ignorance. The plague first nearly wiped out all trade whatsoever going in and out of the Imperium, either by killing the trade vessels or causing their cancellation. Because of this, the Imperium no longer had its regular imports of food, making sustenance in high demand. Sadly, many people had not grown up on farms and were used to base luxuries, which eventually led to a mass famine. This massive destabilization of the Imperium was just what the Republicans, who by now despised the Imperium for its autocratic government and dependence of others, were looking for. Primarily, they wanted to reform the government in such a way that would avoid famine and put it into the "capable hands" of the merchant and shopkeeping majority. Seeing that the Imperium was in shambles, they declared themselves the federal government of Yavkard in 714 AC, and with it, took much of the Imperium’s territory from the starving Yavvi people in what essentially was now a civil war. As the Cataclysm spread across the Imperium, many of the Yavvi looked to the Wa’vrie, who just before the Cataclysm had reached and even surpassed the luxuries of the Yavkard. However, shockingly, much of Wavria actually supported the Republican movement and many cities within its borders actually declared allegiance to the faction during 717 AC, which was essentially a turning point in the war, as well as taking part in a massive land grab, shrinking the Imperium’s borders even moreso. With both its territories diminishing the Imperium into a shell of its former self, as well as famine abroad, the Yavkard Imperium, eventually fell, with its collapse after Emperor Titus Gregona was assassinated by one of his own people in 721, causing the Conglomerate's victory, taking all of the former Imperium's land, exempting its colonies, and ending the civil war. With the imperial military now out of commission, and bandit gangs on the rise, many people quickly fled the area, until the population dwindled to what it is present day. The Present Day Ardrian Conglomerate: After Wavria broke off from the Yavkard Imperium, and subsequently collapsed themselves shortly thereafter, and Emperor Titus Gregona was assassinated, what was left of the Imperium collapsed into disarray. However, the new government would soon stabilize the country and, by 747 AC, returned to a state of relative normalcy. Roughly inspired by the Elven government, the system the Ardrian Conglomerate was rather alien at the time. For instance, rather than a strict central monarchy, they instead settle for a confederation, or conglomerate, rather, of autonomous cities with a small, low power, Parliament-Council with an internally appointed Prime Minister Pro Tempore as leader. This new state would be simply called the Ardrian Conglomerate and would form a government which followed the ideals of the former Duarssian Empire and Elue Dominion, and would form a model government for the southern Tang rebels. For the time being, things have been normal, though there has been a recent push to support the Tang Revolts and to rediscover Gregoria and reclaim the former colonies, both of which are up for debate within the Parliament-Council.